Distress test pattern and labels

Last night I got a chance to sit down and play with some Distress inks and markers.  First, I tackled a labeling project that I’ve wanted to do for a while.  I got this idea because StAz-On comes with little labels for the sides of their inkpads, and I felt like my Distress inks really need side labels too.  Besides, because Distress is water-reactive, I wanted a label that showed the real ink as it prints, and as it looks wetted.  The retail labels on the top are nice, but I don’t feel like they really depict the ink color well – this happens because the label-manufacturer’s colors may not be an exact match for the inks.  Color matching is pretty tricky across media.

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Labeled Distress inks

So I sat down with a sheet of return-address labels (Avery 8195 was what I had on hand).  Without removing them from the label sheet, I wrote the color name on the labels first in waterproof Micron.  Then I swiped the bottom of each label with the corresponding ink pad.

Finally, I used a wet paintbrush inked with the same ink pad to paint a watercolor sweep across each label.  I let them dry and stuck them to the sides of the ink pads.

The label size was almost perfect, but they were just a teeny bit tall, so I folded the top and adhered to the horizontal surface as well.  Some of them started peeling back up on the top a bit, so next time I might just trim them.

I’m so excited about how nice they look all stacked up!  I also think this will make it so much easier to reference the real color instantly.  The labelstock handled the water brushing surprisingly well!

My next little studio-reference project was to fill in a color chart.  I found that the MarkerPOP! blog has nice color reference tools including blank color charts for their markers including Distress.  So I printed a blank chart on a linen-finish bond paper.  Part of my goal was to have a real-color reference chart – again, manufacturers have a hard time matching color, so retail labels and plastic caps may not be the best color guide.

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My Distress ink color chart

I also wanted to have a reference to compare Distress ink pads to Distress markers.  I know they are supposed to be a coordinated palette, but do they really match exactly?

I’m also curious about how they blend with water.  Does water shift the color?  Do the ink pads and markers blend differently when wetted?

For this little experiment I got to play with my new Ranger waterbrushes.  You can see them along the right side of the color test pic.  Basically, they are a brush with an attached cartridge that you can fill with water.  I have to say they are pretty neat to work with and the ink cleans off of them very well.  I’m looking forward to doing some coloring during my lunch breaks and the waterbrushes should make my operation more portable.  I think with practice I can probably get as much control over the flow as if I use a regular wet brush.

Back to my color chart: On the left side of each square of the grid is the Distress marker swatch, and on the right is the ink pad swatch.  Interestingly, the Fired Brick, Brushed Corduroy, and Walnut Stain colors shifted a little when wet.  Also, some of the colors were pretty hard to spread (it might be the paper).  This isn’t a criticism, just media behavior I need to be aware of so that I can compensate if needed.  I’m going to keep this chart handy when I color as a good reference.

I haven’t filled in all of the stamp pad colors on my chart because I own just a small selection of those right now.  I recently got the full basic line of the markers (the 36 colors shown above, plus white), but I will probably prioritize getting reinkers over getting the full line of ink pads, simply because there are more distress and splash techniques that can be done with reinkers.  Right now, I prefer to stamp in Sepia or Black Archival ink and then color with watercolor.

Until next time, keep it inky…

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